Brooklyn’s Fastest Rising Rents Are In Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Crown Heights

You probably can’t afford to live here.

Quick! Name the most expensive neighborhoods to rent in Brooklyn! DUMBO, right? Brooklyn Heights! Williamsburg! Cobble Hill! Carroll Gardens! Fort Greene! Uh, the list goes on and on, right? Because lately it sure seems like there aren’t really all that many neighborhoods in Brooklyn that can’t be classified as expensive. After all, when newspapers like the New York Times relay the news that property prices in neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights have more than doubled in the last decade without following that news with a bunch of—parenthetical, obviously—expletives demonstrates nothing more or less than the reality that we’re living in pretty intense times. 

And now, a report released by real estate company MNS reveals that even neighborhoods that have long been affordable (or affordable enough, anyway) are not well on their way to being options only for those pulling in six-figure incomes. As of May 2014, the neighborhoods with the biggest increase in rents were Crown Heights (studios and -bedrooms) and Prospect Lefferts Gardens (2-bedrooms). Both of these neighborhoods saw month-to-month rent spikes of well over 10%, with Crown Heights seeing a 17.7% increase in the cost of studios, contributing to the ridiculous reality that the average rent of a studio in Brooklyn is now more than $2,100/month. If you want a little perspective on what that means, if you want to keep your rent costs down to 30% of your gross annual income, you’d better be making $86,000/year in order to afford a studio apartment in Brooklyn.

But perhaps most alarming is the fact that MNS omitted what are called “ultra-luxury” apartments from its research. “Ultra-luxury” means anything over $10,000/month, which, yes, we agree that this is “ultra-luxury,” but also this pretty much destroys any chance you had of reassuring yourself that surely those numbers were inflated by super high-end apartments. No, these numbers are real and they’re offensive. Or at least, they should be to anyone who earns what should be thought of as a middle class income. After all, this is just further proof that it has become almost impossible to make choices about where to live based on anything other than cost. Do you care about what school zone you live in? What subway line you’re near? Which bars and restaurants are nearby? Whether or not you have park access or decent supermarkets within walking distance? Well, sorry. Those kinds of amenities are luxuries reserved for people who make enough money to have options in terms of which neighborhood they want to live in. And maybe you’re one of those people! In which case, congratulations. For the rest of us? If you’re happy where you are, stay put for as long as you can. Unless that is, you get kicked out by overzealous landlords. In which case, good luck out there.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen


  1. It’s bizarre how the early pioneers of these random neighborhoods get replaced. You move somewhere to maximize the money you have, things develop, wheels start turning… the well off are replaced by the rich, the rich in turn replaced by…? I don’t know, what do you call someone willing to spend over $5,000 a month in rent? I think even a person sitting on a few million would feel like they were blowing through it at that point.

    I was born and raised in Brooklyn when “hipster” was a good thing to say about a person. The Slope’ was like Seasame Street. Most hoods on the L line you wouldn’t even go to unless you knew somebody. “Get bushwacked in Bushwick! ” So where to next? When and if we find it, mums the word.

  2. I’m the editor of the Echo, PLG’s neighborhood newsletter, and I fear you misreported the findings about rent rates in the nabe. If we are talking about the same MNS report released in August, you report rightly interpreted the data that Crown Heights is going thru the roof. But rent rates for apartments in PLG, according to MNS charts, is negative to flat?? I’d be curious, where you got that statistic that rents are up more than 10 percent here. Perhaps there was another study and you got them transposed? if so, could you tell me where or am I misreading the data? PLease help. email above


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